Today on the blog we’ve been speaking to Jess, a bride who found herself with the near impossible task of having to shortlist her guest numbers down from 180 to 30, while hunting for a totally new venue at short notice, when their wedding was moved.
With those latest Covid-19 updates and finally a planned roadmap, we know that there will have been equal parts elation and disappointment being experienced out there, for both our suppliers and our couples alike, as yet more weddings have to be rearranged or postponed. Thankfully for today’s featured real wedding couple, a friend came to the rescue in their time of need and offered to host their celebration in a gorgeous marquee, and the romantic church ceremony Jess had always dreamed of was still able to go ahead, albeit with a far smaller, more intimate guestlist. With a tight turnaround our bride, her groom and their nearest and dearest have managed to pull things around and were able to have the perfect wedding for them.
Sometimes it’s the little, unplanned or unexpected moments that create the best memories. We’ve been hearing about how Jess and her bride tribe spent the day before the wedding sipping prosecco in a field, arranging hundreds of pale pink and white fresh flowers in a collection of empty gin and milk bottles to style the venue with the next day, about how the band they managed to hire at the last minute turned out even better than expected and why handing over the choosing of her stunning Suzanne Neville gown to the professional turned out to be the best choice. Over to you, Jess!
With photography by Studio Lester
Jess says: We got engaged in August 2018. Chris asked my dad for his permission to ask for my hand in marriage while we were all at a BBQ at my mum’s house. My dad was elated and said yes, then collected me and my mum together and proceeded to tell us all about Chris’ proposal plans..! It was the most surreal moment of my life. It was meant to be a total surprise and my dad was so excited that he told me about the whole thing!
Me and Chris drove home in awkward silence and I had to wait a further week until we were holidaying on the Norfolk broads for him to actually ask me! Luckily, I said yes!
We originally chose 20/06/20. 2020 sounded such a monumental year, and easy to work out our anniversary dates from. The wedding was meant to be in a barn on a working farm, and the barn was only empty during June and July so we didn’t have too many dates to pick from!
The actual wedding took place on 25/09/2020 and again, we didn’t have too many dates to pick from! We had always wanted to get married in 2020 and it seemed so unfair that it was being taken out of our control so we postponed the wedding to late September and luckily it could go ahead with 30 guests. Shortlisting our guests down from 180 to 30 was the really hard part. We missed a lot of people.
It was held at St John’s Church in Dronfield, near Sheffield and then we had a marquee at our friend’s Country Club in Barlow. We had always planned to get married in that church – I sang in the choir there when I was young so knew the church inside out. It was perfect.
We were limited with our rearranged reception, the barn was now full of corn so we needed a Covid secure venue who would accommodate us and our new number of 30 guests when James at Barlow Country Club agreed to help us out. I’d never been a fan of marquees but saw one on pinterest with the clear roof and loved it so set my heart on that. It was brilliant, it totally changed the atmosphere when it went dark.
I wanted the most chilled day possible, I wanted everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves, myself included. There was no strict theme or colour scheme. Just laid back and full of happiness. In the end it turned out to be lots of pale pinks, whites and greens which came together beautifully but even the bridesmaids chose their own dresses with no specific requirements. It was more important to me that they were comfortable. I knew the flowers could bring everything together later on.
I wore Delancey by Suzanne Neville. I bought it from UNVEILED Network Member Perfect Daze in Huddersfield. Buying my dress was the most magical experience of the whole planning process. Emma made me feel so important from start to finish. I’d tried on some Suzanne Neville dresses elsewhere but just didn’t click with the girls in the boutique so was searching for another stockist when I found Emma.
She actually picked the dress for me. She listened to all my wedding plans and picked it straight out. I loved it from the moment I tried it on. It’s so important you find a stockist who gets you and makes you feel like a princess. Emma was exceptional throughout.
Chris and his ushers all wore Marc Darcy suits.
My bridesmaids all chose their own dresses so they were all from different stores. I had four ‘big’ bridesmaids and two flower girls.
We had a beautiful car, organized very last minute and I couldn’t even tell you who we hired it from!
We had Alex and Josh from Studio Lester. I would recommend them a hundred times over. Alex understood my vision from the day go. I told him what I wanted and he delivered it and more. We didn’t want lots of staged photos and he heard and instead delivered hundreds of candid shots which were gorgeous. Alex also did our video.
Jess from The Petal Box in Sheffield made me and the bridesmaids beautiful bouquets each, to tie all the bridesmaid dresses together.
I did all the rest of my own flowers the day before with the help from my bridesmaids and a family friend. We saved hundreds of gin and milk bottles then, the day before, the florist went to the flower market and bought me £300 worth of flowers and we sat in the field the day before the wedding trimming them and arranging them in the bottles. A few proseccos were consumed in the process!
I made all the girls a little brown bag containing a homemade bath bomb, two paracetamol and a bottle of water for the next day. We provided all the boys with a miniature rum or whisky.
We had a three tier cake; one fruit, one chocolate and one lemon. It was from SJ Cake Studio. I wanted a simplistic cake. The bottom tier was green and the top two were cream with edible flowers all over it. It was brilliant.
Black Peppermint did our catering. We had lots of canapes, ham hock terrine, slow cooked beef and a trio of desserts. The whole service was unreal, the food was delicious and it was so fast!
The bar was provided by Drinks Now Ltd in Sheffield, we wanted locally brewed ales on tap and lots of gin. Chris and his team there came up absolute trumps!
We ended up with a small band called Dronny Bottom Buskers. This changed dramatically from the house sax player we had originally booked!
In honesty, they were the only people available at such short notice but we wouldn’t have changed them for the world. They lifted the spirit of the room instantly and were absolutely perfect for the informal and chilled atmosphere we were aiming for.
For place settings we printed a photo of everyone off in the style of a polaroid picture. They then used these to stick in our guest book next to their message. It worked brilliantly and made our guest book a little more exciting.
We made a “kids corner”. We put a small tipi up in the corner of the marquee filled with toys, colouring books, bubbles and stories. We just collected bits from the charity shops locally. It worked brilliantly, during the speeches and while the adults were eating it meant the children were able to entertain themselves and play. It looked pretty too! All the Brides Up North real weddings provided so much amazing inspiration!
James at Barlow Country Club was brilliant as he doesn’t normally host weddings! It was a favour in our time of need! Also mentions to Studio Lester, Perfect Daze and Black Peppermint as these guys are the absolute best
Seeing each other in the church for the first time that day was magical, we both felt so happy in that moment.
We had planned to go to America, hopefully we will still get there one day! But we went up to the Lake District for a few days after and stayed at Ambleside B&B which was beautiful. It was lovely to get away for a few days just the two of us and soak in the magic of everything that had just happened.
Our advice would be don’t lose faith. Love wins in the end.